aging population Photo: Xinhua

In mainland China, 13 provinces, municipalities and regions have now recorded more than 20% of their population aged 60 or over, with three places seeing the share of this age group exceed one-fifth for the first time, including Beijing, as the country’s aging process continues to accelerate.

A place is considered to be entering a moderately aging society when the proportion of people aged 60 and over is between 20 and 30%, according to international standards.

Places that entered moderately aging societies in 2021 are mainly spread across northern China, including Beijing and Tianjin, the Yangtze River delta region, such as Shanghai, and southwest China, reported. Shanghai-based media Yicai.

Experts said the high proportion of older people in most of these 13 regions is the result of low birth rates or a large exodus of young people to developed cities. For megacities like Beijing and Shanghai, advanced medical and living conditions also contribute to longer life expectancies.

Liaoning Province in northeast China has the highest proportion of elderly people, more than 25% of its population.

Northeast China has seen a continuous exodus of young people and working-age people due to the economic slowdown, insufficient industrial development and reduced employment opportunities, said Yi Baozhong, a professor at the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at Jilin University, Yicai reported.

Beijing has for the first time seen the number of people aged 60 and over exceed 20% of the city’s total population in 2021.

The permanent population aged 60 and over in the capital stood at 4.416 million at the end of 2021, or 20.18 percent of the total population, an increase of 117,000 from 2020, according to the report released Friday.

The population of people aged 65 and over was 3.116 million, or 14.24 percent of total permanent residents, an increase of 204,000 from 2020, according to the report.

China’s demographic development is facing profound changes, where an aging society with fewer children will become the new norm.

The National Health Commission released a report in August highlighting that women of childbearing age have low desire to have children and the total population will experience negative growth during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021- 25).

The country has intensified its efforts to improve the policy to support services for the elderly and develop the national list of basic services for the elderly to address the difficulties that the elderly mainly face, such as disability and living alone and meet the spiritual needs of the elderly, according to a report that the Council of State proposed on Tuesday.

For example, China launched its first network for senior talents on August 26, promoting employment, education and nursing care for the elderly.

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